No funding for major Highway 97 project in Lake Country until at least 2021 - InfoNews

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No funding for major Highway 97 project in Lake Country until at least 2021

The District of Lake Country has been lobbying the Ministry of Transportation for years to upgrade the intersection of Highway 97 and Glenmore Road/Beaver Lake Road intersection.
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July 10, 2020 - 3:00 PM

The Minister of Transportation says there won't be funding for a major highway construction project in Lake Country until at least 2021.

The intersection of Highway 97, and Glenmore and Beaver Lake Roads in Lake Country has long been a traffic issue, plagued with accidents and traffic jams.

It's also the second most dangerous intersection in Lake Country, according to ICBC statistics, with 137 accidents recorded between 2014 and 2018. The District has also lobbied the province for years to fix it.

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said during a debate on budget estimates in the legislature yesterday, July 9, the current study on the highway will wrap up this fall and the first opportunity to fund the project will be in the next provincial budget, slated to be released in February 2021.

READ MORE: Public feedback being gathered for Highway 97 intersection in Lake Country

“We are going to weigh up on how it matches other needs, other priorities in the region. The budget continues to evolve,” Trevena said.

The ministry has been working on the Lake Country Transportation Planning Study since early 2019.

“I’m disappointed. The project is obviously a very high need in the area,” Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Letnick said. “We haven’t seen a lot of investment in the Central Okanagan since this government has taken power so I was hoping the minster would recognize that and say ‘not only the plan is coming forward soon but also the money has been set aside."

In February, the ministry held an open house in Lake Country, outlining three potential options to improve the highway intersection:

Glenmore Road to Commonwealth Road
This option will update the Commonwealth Road intersection, add a new road from the Commonwealth Road intersection to Glenmore Road, upgrade a connection between Commonwealth Road and Jim Bailey Road and add new frontage roads on the east and west sides of Highway 97.

Glenmore Road to Jim Bailey Road
A signal south of Voyager RV would redirect traffic from Glenmore/Beaver Lake Road (signal would remain) and close the Commonwealth Road intersection. A new overpass near The Jammery would be added and Shanks Road would be upgraded. New roads would be constructed on the east side of Highway 97.

Glenmore Road to Main Street
This option would close the current Glenmore/Beaver Lake Road intersection and replace it with an interchange to the south, add a new overpass near The Jammery, upgrade Shanks Road and add new roads on the east side of Highway 97.

An option to add a traffic light at the Lodge Road intersection was also proposed for Lake Country’s town centre.

The Glenmore Road/Highway 97/Beaver Lake Road study is part of multiple transportation studies that are ongoing in the Okanagan.

In Peachland, the Ministry of Transportation is looking at a bypass or highway widening options, as part of the larger Central Okanagan transportation study. It is also in the planning phase for the Highway 97A corridor through the City of Enderby and Splatsin IR#2 between Stepney Cross Road and the junction with Highways 97A and 97B.

Lake Country’s mayor could not be immediately reached for comment.


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